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Hughes blog post: Making the most of your conference sponsorship

30 June 2016    

Our consulting team has been hungry for knowledge recently, attending a number of conferences.

As well as learning more about digital and social media trends, communication strategies and wider industry and economic futures, they’ve also picked up some tips on how to make the most – or not – of event exhibits or sponsorship!

As a result, we’ve put together a few tips for your next conference sponsorship or exhibition:

Be prepared

When you haven’t exhibited before, it’s easy to get it wrong. Don’t show up on time, only to find out that there are no extension cords and no lighting or seats in your display.

Communicate with the organiser well ahead of the conference to ensure that all the basics will be set up before you arrive, and then make sure you arrive early on the first day to manage the display preparation!

Bring the right people

It’s not just about the physical items needed to put your space together, but having a clear strategy for interacting with your target market.  It should go without saying… but know your audience before you go anywhere, because your strategy will not always be one-size-fits-all.

Make sure you’re sending the right person or people to represent you. Your representatives should always have energy and speak confidently and accurately about your business in a way your target audience will relate to.

Create memories

Whether you’re an industry leader or a start-up, you need to excite attendees. It’s not just about the information you provide, the brochures you hand out or giveaways; it’s about being able to engage and resonate with your audience – in a way that they remember positively, well beyond the event and well ahead of others they’ve met. The most effective way to do this depends on your industry and product, but a simple and effective approach is as easy as ‘show and tell’. Take it a step further and offer trials or personalised experiences. If you’re a technology company, bring something to try out. If you’re a product based company, bring samples. If your services are difficult to explain, show them a video. Telling is great, but showing is even better.

Continue the conversation

Every conversation needs a plan to follow up that will allow you to build the relationship and ultimately create a new client or positive influencer so make sure you find a way to follow-up – by email, by letter or even better, in person.

While sponsorship and exhibiting is simple on the surface, it’s not to be taken for granted. If you do, you may not create the brand impression you desired, and the conversations and new clients may never eventuate!

- Jamie Hershman